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Chronic fatigue syndrome gets some validation from IOM

Fatigue can be an indication of several things. It may be a sign that a person isn't sleeping well or a side effect of a medication to treat an illness. It can also be the primary symptom of a serious condition that is not well-understood: chronic fatigue syndrome.

People who have CFS are not just tired: they are chronically exhausted to the point that they can't participate in certain activities, including work. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people can also experience symptoms like difficulty concentrating, muscle and joint pain, headaches and trouble sleeping. Unfortunately, the medical community has yet to confirm what causes this illness, and treatment can be difficult as well. Because of this, many people may not be taking the condition seriously. However, a recent report by the Institute of Medicine could change that.

The report by IOM attempts to legitimize chronic fatigue syndrome by stating that it is a very real condition and there are things the medical community can do to approach the diagnosis and treatment of CFS in a more professional and effective manner.

For example, the study states that there are a few factors that should be taken into account when diagnosing this illness. If fatigue lasts longer than six months and gets worse after a person exerts himself or herself, and if sleep doesn't help to alleviate the fatigue, it may be CFS. Further, the study identifies the people who may be most at risk for the illness, which often affects middle-aged women.

Many people hope that this study will urge doctors and others in the medical community to take cases of CFS seriously and lead to further research that could improve treatments.

Unless and until that happens, however, patients who suffer from this condition can face some serious obstacles when it comes to proving that it is disabling. For help doing this and to seek the benefits that may be available to people with a disabling illness, it can be important to work with an attorney.

Source: 13WMAZ, "Doctors urged to take chronic fatigue syndrome more seriously," Ashley Welch, May 18, 2015

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